KING COUNTY, Wash. - Law enforcement officials have arrested and charged the man accused of organizing an Auburn street race that killed two people in November 2020.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Washington State Patrol, Kent Police Department and Auburn Police Department held a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon to give an update on the street racing investigation.
Authorities announced that Tuesday morning, WSP arrested Jerick Judd and charged him with two counts of accomplice to vehicular homicide.
"I commend our partners at the Washington State Patrol, Kent Police Department, Auburn Police Department, and the Regional Racing Task Force for their diligent investigation which led to today’s arrest and charges," said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. "While sometimes glamorized, reckless racing and drifting outside appropriate venues is exceedingly dangerous, as the events of last November make clear. We want the public to know that we will hold people responsible for these dangerous events – including event organizers like Mr. Judd."
Officials say Judd organized the November 27, 2020 street racing event where Rondale Hendricks is accused of accidentally hitting three people with his car, two of whom—23-year-old Kelly Acosta and 19-year-old Makenna Heustis—died from their injuries.
"If I’m not thinking about it, I feel like she could just walk in the door and this would just be a dream. But then, reality sinks in and you realize she’s not here and she’s not coming back," said Angela Heustis, Makenna's mother.
Hendricks was charged for vehicular homicide and making false statements last December, and is scheduled for trial in December 2021.
The charges of accomplice to vehicular homicide against Judd are the first-ever made by the Attorney's Office to their knowledge.
"It just seems like there’s a lot less accountability. And I think that this will hopefully make things more accountable," said Erik Heustis, Makenna's father. "Her death didn’t just get pushed aside. Something is being created because of it—that helps, that eases the pain for sure."
Crackdown on street racing
Street racing events have seemingly grown in popularity, as these illegal events are becoming more frequent, and officials say Judd organized one as recently as September. In January, Auburn Police closed streets to try and crack down on them.
Local law enforcement agencies formed a task force in March to address these illegal street racing events. Since then, they have made 69 arrests.
"This is more than just Auburn; this is a regional issue and today this incident shows just how serious of an issue it is," said Auburn Police commander Mike Hirman. "We appreciate and thank all our partners who have worked extremely hard to get this done and we also thank the King County Prosecuting Attorney for filing the charges against the organizer of the street racing event."
According to officials, Judd operated an Instagram account detailing the location and time of the November 27, 2020 event.
The account was a car club page that authorities traced back to Judd, where he was identified as the account's primary user.
"In recent years, illegal street racing has grown increasingly dangerous, sometimes resulting in the tragic and needless loss of life," said Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla. The successful investigation and prosecution of the offenders in this case should serve as a strong message to would-be illegal street racers and the race organizers that we take their dangerous and often violent actions seriously and we will work tirelessly to identify those involved and ensure they are held accountable for their crimes. This investigation is also a testament to the level of cooperation we have amongst Law Enforcement Agencies in King County and the outstanding law enforcement professionals who put the investigations together."
As for what these charges entail, the Attorney's Office says they are Class A felonies and the sentence would likely be years in custody. Arraignment is scheduled for some time in the next two weeks.
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